MANSFIELD — Revisions to the stray animal ordinance are being advertised for adoption by the Mansfield borough, with a vote planned in October.
The council’s public safety committee has been working on the ordinance for several months with feedback from residents who raised concerns with the previously proposed “cat ordinance.”
If passed, the ordinance would not allow cat owners to have cats running freely outside of the residence unless the cat has been neutered/spayed, immunized against rabies and “tipped” on its left ear to signify those items have been done.
The ordinance would also make it unlawful for anyone in the borough to continue to feed stray or feral cats “where such feeding causes a nuisance to neighbors or creates a condition contrary to the health, safety and welfare of the community,” unless the person participates in a trap, neuter and return program through the borough.
TNR is “a non-lethal approach to feral cat population control where feral cats are humanely trapped, sterilized, vaccinated, ear-tipped and then returned to the location where they were originally trapped,” the ordinance states.
The borough’s goal with the ordinance is to contain and control the feral cat population.
“Basically we’re saying if you’re feeding a cat and you’re treating it humanely, and you’re participating in a TNR program, that’s OK,” Will Schlosser, council member and chair of the public safety committee, said. “But if you’re feeding the cat, not really taking care of it and you’re refusing to participate in our program, there are some steps that can be taken for citations.”
The participation in the TNR program for community members is low commitment, as they would just need to pull back on feeding the cats for two or three days so the cat goes into the trap for food, Council President Rob Strohecker said.
Animal welfare organizations can apply to serve as a sponsor of a TNR program. The sponsor would register each feral cat colony it manages with the borough, including the number of cats in the colony, general location and how many caretakers are working with it. It would annually record the intake and disposition of each feral cat brought to its facility and how many cats have been sterilized. Sponsors would also be responsible for addressing any complaints about its caretakers passed along by the borough.
The council approved a MOU with the Tioga County Cat Project. The borough is working with that organization on the TNR program.
The ordinance also prohibits animals owned by residents to run at large at any time beyond the owner’s property. The animal must be firmly secured, be accompanied by or under “reasonable control” of someone.
All law enforcement officers will be authorized to seize and detain any animal found running at large up to 48 hours. Notice will be given to the person found on the license issued to claim the animal within 48 hours. Penalties and daily charges will be incurred for the second and subsequent occurrences.
Any person who violates the ordinance could be fined up to $300 and costs for the first offense, or be imprisoned for up to 90 days, or both, the ordinance states.
For more information or to read the full proposed ordinance, call the borough office at 570-662-2315. The next Mansfield Borough Council meeting is set for 6 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 14.